•BY OSELOKA NNAMDI in Awka•
The five year old leadership tussle that rocked the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), has now been put behind as the members resolved to move ahead as a family and enable them key back into the nation’s petroleum sector where the association is a key stakeholder.
This according to its National President, Elder Chinedu Okoronkwo was part of the resolution at its 2019 Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Awka, the Anambra state capital at the weekend where he reconciled all members and unveiled his blueprint for the way forward.
Okoronkwo in his keynote address while declaring the meeting open briefly went down memory lane on the crisis that had rocked the association’s leadership since Jan 20,2014 and was brought to an end by the Supreme Court’s verdict of Dec 14,2018 which affirmed his executive as the authentic leadership of IPMAN.
He bemoaned the huge material; financial and mental loss the members had incurred while the leadership crisis lingered, but thanked God that no innocent blood was spilled.
He commended all members who remained steadfast to the ideals of the association while the crisis lasted, and prayed for the eternal repose of the souls of some members who passed on within the five-year period.
The President and his executive received a standing ovation from the well-attended meeting from delegates who came from all chapters and units, especially when it was resolved that his tenure was to commence from Dec 14,2108.
He said the judgement had brought to an end the division generated by the leadership crisis between him and Chief Obasi Lawson.
Pledging to sustain his open door policy, Okoronkwo encouraged members to feel free to approach the Katampe Abuja secretariat of IPMAN at any time when in need or for clarification always, “because this association belongs to all of us; and we are here to serve you all”.
He said the AGM became very necessary because it’s been years it held last and also that it was considered ideal to top up the restored unity with a meeting of the highest decision organ of the association and to resolve some necessary issues concerning its smooth operations.
Among key decisions taken was the reconstitution of its Board of Trustees (BoT), bringing the number from the South East, South West, North East and North West to three each while Midwest was to be represented by two -Chiefs Solomon Ogbowe and Peter Konkon. Chief Aisha Labaran-Maku was also elected the association’s National Woman Leader.
According to the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the association, Alhaji Yakubu Sulaiman noted also that the meeting was holding for the first time in Awka, and was used to take some far reaching decisions to reposition the association and recover lost grounds in the industry and among stakeholders.
The chairman of the Calabar Depot, Elder Umana Edet noted that, “the enthusiasm of delegates and the large attendance who actively participated in the AGM was indication that we have all put the crisis behind. Let’s all join the winning team of Elder Okoronkwo…”
A member of the House of Representatives and Adviser to the association, Hon Danlami Mohammed Kurfi, who represents Dutsimma/Kurfi Federal Constituency of Katsina state described the Awka meeting as a historical where all the past Presidents, Zonal/Unit chairmen, as well as past and present executives attended. “You can see excitement everywhere because we have not had any AGM in the past five years…
“Today, all marketers can go home happy knowing his business is now back on track. The reconciliation has commenced and soon all would be back as one body, as Okoronkwo has reiterated he’s running an open leadership”, the lawmaker stressed.
Hon Kurfi commended the administration of President Mohammed Buhari for eliminating the annual monster of petroleum products scarcity at Yuletide for the very first time in the history of contemporary Nigeria. He urged the President to keep it up.
One of the new members of the BoT and Eze Uzu 111 of Awka, Obi Dr Austine Ndigwe, describing IPMAN as the biggest association and player in the nation’s petroleum downstream sector which cannot afford to exclude itself permanently from the scheme of things in the nation’s economic wellbeing. The meeting was very successful and there was no victor, no vanquished as everyone has buried the hatchet and resolved to move progressively forward.